Geology of the Cornish Coast
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Cornwall's spectacular coastal scenery and beautiful rock formations are the result of 500 million years of geological history. We'll travel widely to investigate the geological events which produced this scenery. We'll also have an underground tour of a tin mine and visit a working china clay quarry. We'll walk up to 6 miles (9.5km) each day. Suitable for any level of experience, with no prior knowledge required.
- Leisurely walks with regular stops to look at geology
- Enjoy geology in a small sociable group setting
- Our expert leader will guide you around the best sites
Great reasons to join us:
- Great value: all prices include Full Board en-suite accommodation, guidance from our expert leader, transport and any entrance fees to sites
- Accommodation: enjoy high quality accommodation and excellent food at our Country Houses
- Expert leaders: all our leaders are expert in their field and will ensure that you get the most from your holiday
- Sociability: spend time with like-minded people in a relaxed and friendly environment
Chy Morvah, meaning 'house by the sea' in Cornish, is an appropriate name for this characteristic seaside property. Situated within walking distance of the centre of St Ives, it enjoys wonderful views along the north Cornwall coast.
Chy Morvah has 39 bedrooms, either located in the main building or in the adjacent Lanyons House.
Choose your room
• Check-in from 2:30pm
• Comfortable accommodation
• En-suite bathroom with bath or shower
• Tea and coffee-making facilities
• Single rooms are available at no extra charge
• Check-in from 1:30pm
• Enjoy extra space or exceptional views
• Toweling robe, complimentary slippers
• Same facilities as our classic rooms
• Available from an extra £10 per person per night
• Check-in from 2:30pm
• 3 or 4 beds
• Same facilities as our classic rooms
• Full sized twin or double beds for adults and bunk or occasional beds for children
|• Excellent boot and drying rooms
• Laundry facilities
• Chy Morvah has a splendid elevated position with sea views
• The main lounges enjoy views across St Ives bay
• Dining room
|• Conservatory front
• Free WiFi is available in some public rooms
• Range of board games and books
• Attractive gardens with sea views
| • Heated outdoor swimming pool (Open April to September, weather permitting)
• Table football
|All holidays at our Country Houses are full board accommodation including evening meal on arrival to breakfast on the day of your departure. All of our Country Houses have a well-stocked bar serving local beers, wine and spirits.
√ Start your day with our extensive breakfast.
All of our bars are stocked with locally sourced drinks so you can really soak up your surroundings.
Due to the layout of Chy Morvah, it is not recommended for wheelchair users and guests with restricted mobility.
- Fire procedure is displayed in each room and explained to guests on arrival. Guests requiring assistance at an evacuation are identified at this time and door hanger cards are issued
- Mobile phone reception is generally good from the main building
- Assistance dogs accompanying visually or hearing impaired guests are welcome; dogs must be kept on a lead or harness at all times
- Information can be provided in large print
- Staff have received disability awareness training
- Special diets can be catered for. Specialist food can be obtained with prior notice
- Fridge for medication can be supplied
Saturday: Arrival day
You can check in to your room from 2.30pm onwards. Please join us for afternoon tea at 4pm. All guests are invited – we’ll introduce your leader and welcome you to your holiday.
Sunday: Ornamental rock serpentine at Lizard Point and Cornwall’s oldest rock
Our holiday begins with a visit to the southernmost tip of England on the Lizard peninsula. Here a rare geological event produced a variety of unusual rocks, including the largest area of the ornamental rock serpentine in Britain. We’ll marvel at Cornwall’s oldest rock and visit one of the few sites - in the world! - where rocks from the earth’s mantle and crust can be seen side by side.
Monday: St Michael's Mount, an elvan dyke at Praa Sands, a giant’s rock at Porthleven and some ptygmatic folding at Rinsey Cove
The granite outcrop of St. Michael’s Mount makes a beautiful backdrop to our excursion this morning. We can search for evidence of a 4,000 year old submerged forest, and look for rocks formed by an undersea explosion. At Praa Sands we examine an elvan, and at Porthleven view the erratic known as Giant’s Rock. At Rinsey Cove we stand on the roof of a granite intrusion, and see some wonderful examples of ptygmatic folding!
Tuesday: China clay at Wheal Martyn, a spectacular granite outcrop at Roche and that rare rock, luxullianite at Lanivery
After a delicious breakfast we head off to a working quarry at Wheal Martyn where we get a fascinating insight into Cornwall’s china clay industry. From our viewpoint we watch activity in the huge working pit which has shaped the lives, landscape and local economy. Later on the village of Roche provides an unusual altered granite tor with a chapel on the top, and in the church at Lanivery is an example of the rare rock luxullianite which was once quarried in this area.
Wednesday: a free day on which to relax and enjoy the facilities at Chy Morvah, or use our Discovery Point to explore the local area.
Thursday: Colourful Godrevy Beach sands, the dramatic Roundhole at Trebone Beach, the striking Marble Cliffs of rare Devonian limestone and Trebetheric's beautiful green and purple striped slates
At Godrevy Beach we enjoy an example of a transition rock known as sandrock. Beneath the disused Wheal Coates mine on beautiful Chapel Porth beach is an excellent example of a mineral lode containing copper, tin, and variety of colourful minerals. Then it’s on to Trevone Beach, where we’re met with a dramatic feature known as The Roundhole. This is a huge collapsed sea cave which formed in the middle of a field! Nearby are the striking Marble Cliffs - banded formations of rare Devonian limestone. Today’s final treat lies on the shore at Trebetherick - some very unusual outcrops of beautiful green and purple striped slates.
Friday: Geevor tin mine, beautiful greenstone in Priest's Cove and a superb raised beach at Port Nanven
Today we go underground! We begin with a fascinating tour of Geevor tin mine and explore the many buildings with their magnificently-preserved mining machinery. There is also a museum which tells the story of Cornwall’s tin mining industry. Further delights await us... at Cape Cornwall there are beautiful masses of greenstone in Priest’s Cove, whilst at Port Nanven we explore a superb example of a raised beach. If time allows we’ll look at how prehistoric man used the local rock when we visit the fascinating structure of nearby Lanyon Quoit.
Saturday: Depart after a leisurely breakfast
Sometimes things happen beyond our control – the weather, traffic jams or changes at the places we visit. If we need to adjust your holiday programme, for whatever reason, your leader will help smooth the way.
What to bring
- Outdoor clothing appropriate to the season, including waterproofs
- Strong, comfortable footwear with a good tread is essential
- Thermos flask (optional)
- Camera (optional - as many of the sites are photogenic, plus you capture a visual record what you have seen)
- Notebook (optional - but very handy)
Chy Morvah is situated in the attractive seaside town of St Ives. A 10 minute downhill walk will take you to the harbour and old town; a maze of narrow streets and shops. The harbour front is always bustling with activity, and there are numerous artists’ galleries to enjoy. There are also two excellent sandy beaches. Nearby Porthminster Beach (5 to 10 minutes' walk) is very sheltered and very popular with families. Porthmeor Beach on the far side of town (15 to 20 minutes' walk) is more exposed and excellent for surfing. There are several surf schools if you want to give this a go – a popular option for all ages! St Ives has a full range of facilities including shops, banks, chemists, pubs and cafés.
During your stay at Chy Morvah you may enjoy visiting the following places of interest:
Tate Gallery & Barbara Hepworth Gallery
Opened in 1993, this branch of the Tate Gallery celebrates Cornwall’s rich artistic legacy. Tate St Ives also manages the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden, which gives a remarkable insight into the work and outlook of one of Britain's most important 20th century artists. Both galleries are within easy walking distance of Chy Morvah. www.tate.org.uk
Justifiably popular with visitors, the fascinating ‘Biomes’ of the Eden Project house a flamboyant collection of plants from around the world. Explore the two gigantic geodesic conservatories – one a majestic rainforest, the other is host to the fruits and flowers of the Mediterranean, South Africa and California. Outside the extensive grounds are landscaped and produce tea, lavender, sunflowers and hemp. The Eden Project is just over an hour's drive from St Ives. Between May and September guests staying at Chy Morvah are able to book a coach excursion each Wedneday, organised by Oates Travel. www.edenproject.com
St Michael’s Mount
The jewel in Cornwall's crown, a fairytale island with an exotic garden, ancient harbour, a church and a medieval castle. Access from Marazion is by foot along the causeway, or by ferry at high water. Marazion is about 20 minutes' drive from St Ives, and can also be reached by regular local buses. www.stmichaelsmount.co.uk
National Maritime Museum
Cornwall's £21 million attraction in Falmouth is housed in an award winning building on the harbour-side. The museum transports you into the world of small boats and Cornish maritime history. Falmouth is about 50 minutes' drive from St Ives, and a day here could include visits to Pendennis Castle, or a delightful boat trip up the River Fal to Truro. www.nmmc.co.uk
National Seal Sanctuary
Situated at Gweek beside the Helford estuary, the seal sanctuary cares for injured or abandoned seals, before returning them to the wild. The seal sanctuary is about 40 minutes' drive from St Ives. www.sealsanctuary.co.uk
Geevor Tin Min
Discover Cornwall's mining heritage at this excellent museum. Guided underground trips as well as surface tours are available. The musem is about 30 minutes' drive from St Ives, and can also be reached using the 300 open-top bus. www.geevor.com
Lost Gardens of Heligan
Created in the mid 18th century, the gardens at Heligan are one of the best examples in Britain, famed for displays of rhododendrons and camellias. Following years of neglect they have been subject to extensive restoration work over the last 20 years. The gardens, located near Mevagissey are just over an hour's drive from St Ives. www.heligan.com
This uniquely situated open-air theatre is cut into the cliffs at Porthcurno, near Lands End. Performances take place most evenings with some afternoon matinees. The Rowena Cade Exhibition Centre tells the story of its creation. An evening theatre visit is offered on most weeks to guests staying at Chy Morvah (May to September). www.minack.com
St Michaels Mount image credited to Mike Newman, Eden Project image ©Hufton+Crow,
Travel to St Ives
Our address is: Chy Morvah, Bishops Road, The Belyars, St Ives, Cornwall TR26 2DB
The nearest railway station is St Ives, however you may find the journey to St Erth on the main line more convenient. For train times and general rail enquiries visit www.nationalrail.co.uk or call 03457 484950 (from outside the UK call +44 20 7278 5240).
St Ives station is only ½ mile from Chy Morvah, but it is rather a steep uphill walk. Taxis cost approx £4 for this short transfer. Details of our current recommended taxi company and rates will be sent to you with your booking. The return taxi journey can be arranged on your behalf by the Chy Morvah Manager.
Head to Cornwall via the A30. At a large roundabout take the A3074 signposted to St Ives (2nd Exit). You will now come to 2 small roundabouts, go straight across the first and take a right at the second heading towards the village of Lelant. Pass through Lelant and Carbis Bay on the same road.
Pass Tescos and the Treganna Castle hotel on your left hand side, then as you approach St Ives take the left fork which heads slightly up hill, following signs to visitor parking and the leisure centre. Follow the road and turn left up the steep hill. Almost immediately the road turns left again but instead of following the road around to the left you need to turn off the road and head directly up the hill on Porthminster Terrace.
Chy Morvah is right in front of you at the top of the hill. To reach the car park drive left past the front of Chy Morvah and turn immediately right behind the back of the building. The car park is on the right 15 yards along the lane called Bishops road.
Travelling from overseas
For most guests, travelling to London Heathrow airport is the most convenient option.
From Heathrow first take the train to London Paddington station. From here there are direct trains to St Erth, and finally a short branch line train to St Ives.This is a relatively straightforward, if lengthy journey - allow 6½ hours, so a morning arrival into Heathrow would be preferable.
Steve has been leading Natural World and Walking holidays for HF Holidays for over 26 years. His main interests include wildlife, astronomy and geology, and he manages a small nature reserve in Lancaster. Steve is also a keen natural history photographer and his photos have been published in the BBC Wildlife Magazine, The Guardian, and local publications.
Steve has led numerous tours from our Worldwide Journeys range including holidays in the Caribbean, New Zealand, Canada, South America, South Africa and Asia, as well as many of our European destinations.
Dates & Prices
We're sorry, there are no dates available for this holiday at the moment. Please check out our other tours and breaks or call our team on 0345 470 8558 to be notified of new dates as soon as they become available.
Prices are per person
- Premium single room: £15 per night
- Premium twin/double room: £10 per person per night
- Non-member associate fee: £10 per person